Lizard Tech
September 3, 2000 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Lizard Tech has these proprietary formats for digital documentation and images that compress really well (3MB versus 150MB PDF etc) and produces better output. According to Communication Arts Sept/Oct issue there is a new image standard they're working on with other groups called jpeg 2000 that looks pretty cool with better images overall.
posted by greyscale (5 comments total)
JPEG 2000 is based on similar work originally done by Kodak, who tried twice to implement a similar standard (first as PCD, then again as FPX). As I understand it, the point of JPEG2000 is to implement the image in the file in a number of different resolutions and quality levels. Within the context of downloads, the user would then set a preference which said "I'm stuck at 28Kbaud, please send me small and ugly" or "I have a cable modem, please send me big and beautiful".

Both times Kodak tried it, they made it overkill, with each successive version of the picture in the file double the size (four times the pixels) of the previous one, and with only one possible base resolution. In other words, you were stuck with 768*512 plus multiples and divisors. The max size was 3072*2048 which quite frankly is very impressive to behold if your computer is capable of handling it. But a typical full-res FPX ("FlashPix") file runs 2-4 megabytes. So FPX never really went anywhere, despite the efforts of Phil Greenspun who has placed several thousand FPX pictures into the public domain. (They cover a wide variety of subjects; a lot of them are pictures he's taken as a tourist. But there's also some classic studio work. Every picture on this page is available as a full-res FPX if you want a REALLY CLOSE look.

Phil's full collection can be found here.

FPX as a format never really took off and the forced 3:2 aspect ratio didn't help, and finding software to support is isn't trivial. Most recent-generation graphics editors have the ability to read them to varying degrees; creating them are more of a problem.

PCD (Photo CD) was even more of a failure. Unfortunately, they preceded the wide-band revolution by a bit too much. And for a browser to understand FPX takes a plug-in, and it sucks.

But I have more confidence in the JPEG committee; this time they'll get it right, and the timing is better now.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:25 AM on September 3, 2000

Isn't most of this stuff already covered by the PNG format?

And what happened to PhotoCD, anyway; Eckerd has even stolen the trademark for something else, and Kodak isn't bitching...
posted by baylink at 1:21 PM on September 3, 2000

PNG is all too often bigger in the the final product (with my limited experience anyhow) and this is something that is not only better, but smaller too. You get more image for less bandwidth.
posted by greyscale at 5:17 PM on September 3, 2000

Eh, baylink? Looks to me like Eckerd is a Kodak licensee, they use PhotoCd and Kodak PhotoNet for their processing.
posted by dhartung at 8:14 PM on September 3, 2000

They are, Dan, but I've checked: the thing that Eckerd is selling as "PhotoCD" (as opposed to Kodak's 'PictureCD', which they also sell) is *not* the Kodak PhotoCD format disc, with ImagePac files on it.

I actually went so far as to call the VP of something or other at Kodak to ask if they knew this was going on, but he was on vacation, and I never did hear anything back from him.
posted by baylink at 4:04 PM on September 4, 2000

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